By Jim Sedlak
A few years ago, I was speaking with a well-known pro-life leader who quit a good paying job in the secular world to devote himself full time to the pro-life effort. That decision is a tough one, especially if you have a family with small children, as this man did. I asked him how he reached the point that he was able to make the leap.
He told me that he felt a calling to save the babies, so he took some time to discern what he should do and prayed for direction. As part of his discernment he talked to many of his close friends and a pastor and asked for their thoughts. One of the individuals he asked was a very successful businessman. They talked several times and the man gave him a lot of good advice. At the end of one of their talks, the businessman said to him, “Just remember, if you decide to go ahead with doing pro-life work full time, I’ve got your back.”
Wow! What an incredible statement. There are a lot of men and women who wrestle with the idea of working full time in the pro-life movement, but there is always the question of finances. What if this doesn’t work out? Will my spouse or my children be hurt? Having someone in the community who has your back certainly removes some of the pressure.
As I thought about how lucky this future full-time pro-lifer was to have this assurance, a more encouraging thought came to mind. This successful businessman was earnest in his assurance to the now pro-life leader. But, in reality, he does not have full control over his future. He could fall on hard times himself and not be in a position to help, or he could even die.
But do you know who always has our backs, no matter what? Our ever faithful, merciful God has our backs. He told this to us many times in the Bible.
Psalm 46, for example, calls us to rely on God. It begins by stating: “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress” and ends with the words: “The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.” When these biblical words are spoken in today’s parlance, they could be summed up by saying “God has our backs.”
Another biblical passage is about as straightforward as possible. In Isaiah 41:10, God says: “Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just one hath upheld thee.”
Then we have probably the most specific statement in the Bible about how God has our back. Psalm 23 states:
The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.
You set a table before me in front of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.
The message from the Bible is clear. If you are doing God’s will, God will have your back.
The important thing, of course, is to make sure you are doing God’s will for you. While others may be involved in various aspects of the pro-life movement, you must take the time to determine what God wants YOU to do.
Back in the 1990s when the Rescue Movement was going strong, I never felt called to participate. Once, when I was speaking at a Human Life International conference in New Orleans, there was a rescue scheduled for a Saturday morning. Several people asked if I planned to go. On Friday evening, I attended an organizational meeting where the logistics of the rescue were discussed as well as the procedure for getting arrested. Then, as the person leading the discussion wrapped up, he said:
The Rescue does tremendous good. Do not be worried about it. The only time we have any trouble at rescues is when someone comes that God doesn’t want to be there. That’s when problems occur. So, pray tonight, be sure God is calling you to rescue, and we’ll see you in the morning.
With that, I went back to the hotel room and prayed. After spending about an hour with God, it was clear to me that rescue was something God was not calling me to do. He had other plans for my pro-life work. To this day, I admire all those who rescued in the past and who are part of the Red Rose Rescue of today. They are clearly called by God to that ministry. I thank God for showing me my part in this effort and for keeping me faithful to fighting Planned Parenthood in the way He has planned for me.
I invite any of you who question how God wants you to fight the culture of death to pray and let God talk to you. Sometimes the answer comes in prayer. Sometimes God is more practical. I spent four years trying to discern my place in the movement. I tried many different things and they did not work out. Then Planned Parenthood announced it would build a new clinic in my town. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I sent a letter to 14 local pro-lifers suggesting the forming of a new group to focus on Planned Parenthood. I told God that if I received eight positive responses from the 14 letters, I would do something. If not, I would move on to something else.
Let me explain something about mail statistics. If you mail 14 letters to the right people, at the right time, about something they agree with, you are lucky to get one response. Two or three would be almost unheard of. I was “only” asking for eight! Well, people liked it so much that they told their friends. They passed out copies of the letter. When I counted the positive responses 10 days later, I had 50! That’s how STOPP was born in 1985 and God has had my back ever since.
Find out what God wants in your life and follow His direction. If you do, you can always be sure God will have your back.
Jim Sedlak is vice president of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network.